A Heart For Briggs Woods
By Jeff Wendel
Nestled in the heart of North Central Iowa, Briggs Woods Public Golf Course is “perfectly positioned overlooking the pristine Boone River Valley of Hamilton County.” That quote from the Briggs Woods website perfectly describes one of the most beautiful parts of Iowa.
We frequently hear about ‘hidden gems.’ Briggs Woods certainly qualifies for that moniker, but it is much more than that. I prefer to think of Briggs Woods Golf Course as a hidden heart.
The people’s strong work ethic and welcoming attitude are the heart of North Central Iowa. Briggs Woods exemplifies outstanding customer service and a commitment to providing excellent facilities and value for visitors. Briggs Woods has many guests who return year after year and consistently delivers a warm welcome to frequent visitors and newcomers. Outdoor activities include fishing, biking, hiking, canoeing, and golf!
Briggs Woods began as a nine-hole course in 1971. The redesign of the original nine and the addition of the second nine was completed in 1991. The staff also completed the clubhouse in 1991. The Briggs Wood Conference Center opened in 2019.
I first played Briggs Woods in 1994. Playing a course for the first time is one of my favorite things. To say I loved the golf course is an understatement, and I have played Briggs Woods many times since. The par 5 first hole looks wide open from the tee, but it is out of bounds left, and trees to the right, hit it straight. Note: Straight is a good strategy on every hole. Good luck. #2 is a short par 4 with a somewhat tight tee shot. Unless you can drive the green, a layup to the 100-yard range is a good choice. The par 3 third hole has very little room over the green. Choose your club wisely. #4 is a short par 5 with lots of interest. Play your tee shot up the left side of the fairway and look over the hill before you hit your second. Not only could there be a group ahead of you, but you will want to see your target.
The sixth hole is my favorite, a mid-distance par 4 with an exciting green complex. Hole #7 is a 200+ yard par three that plays into the prevailing wind. Only the best shots will find the putting surface. The eighth is a beautiful golf hole that requires a good tee shot. The prevailing wind can make this hole play much longer than the listed 379. Success on the par 4 ninth hole depends on your ability to get your tee shot the proper distance. Do not go too far!
You will hear lots of comments like, ‘wait until you get to the back nine’ at Briggs Woods. The par 3 tenth hole is a benevolent downhill shot to a generous green. Next, you travel under the road to holes 11 and 12. Both are reachable par 5s for long hitters. At that point, you will start to think, ‘what’s so hard about the back nine.” Then you get to the 13th tee. You are in the trees. Even when playing the back tees, many players opt for the white tee on #13. The shot from the blue tee is very tight and requires the perfect distance to stay dry while still having a second shot under 200 yards. Advice for #14 on the Briggs Woods website says, “Don’t be short, long, left or right, and you will be okay.” I have nothing to add to that. The 15th requires some decision-making. Do you try to carry the water or lay up? There is trouble to the right of the 15th green.
#16 is my nemesis. A perfect tee shot will set up about a 130-yard approach to the green. Next, you travel back under the road. Finally, you are out of the trees. The seventeenth is a 386-yard par 4 with a wonderfully fascinating green. #18 is a nearly 400-yard par 4. A perfect tee shot is about 280. Any longer will get you in trouble.
Every hole is memorable at Briggs Woods. Play from the tees that fit your skill level and have fun! Golf Course Superintendent Travis Brown and his staff genuinely believe in superbly conditioning the golf course.
Stay and Play Golf packages include unlimited golf and lodging. Briggs Woods Park cabins are fantastic. The Oak Cabin sleeps 4 to 8 people, the Hickory Cabin sleeps 7 to 13 and the Legacy Cabin sleeps 9 to 15. Each cabin has:
- Heat/Central Air
- Ceiling fans
- Full kitchen with standard-size refrigerator, stove, and microwave
- Pots/Pans, dishes, cups, silverware, toaster, coffee pot
- Table & chairs
- Full living room
- TV in the living room and each bedroom
- Bathroom with shower (one on each level of the 13 and 15-person cabins)
- Large, covered porch with picnic tables, fire ring, charcoal grill
- Cleaning supplies, trash cans, toilet paper, dish and hand soap, kitchen towels
The AmericInn Motel and Super 8 are within two miles of the course.
Consider booking a mid-week trip if you would like a cabin. Make your plans early, as the accommodations fill up fast. https://www.briggswoods.com/stay-and-play/